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The Canberra Times

'Give cannabis a voice': Campaigner running for Senate on pro-pot platform

Andrew Katelaris with a marijuana plant. Picture: Ryan Osland

A prominent national campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis, Dr Andrew Katelaris, is making his case for an ACT Senate seat, saying cannabis should be given a voice in Federal Parliament.

Dr Katelaris also argues that hemp (which is related to cannabis) is an underused crop which would have great benefits for the economy if it were grown on an industrial scale.

It can be grown legally, but it needs promotion to get the acreage up. He says it could be used in the production of paper, cloth and building materials.

He also says that growing cannabis is an effective way of smothering weeds and helping keep soil healthy.

"We require the complete removal of cannabis from the schedule of prohibited substances, where it should never have been placed. This would pave the way for a great expansion of the hemp industries and all the benefits that it would bring," he said.

His election pitch to voters is: "Having one senator elected will not directly lead to law reform, but it will give cannabis a voice that cannot be ignored by the current vested interests.

"Help me to help you."

In 2018, he was cleared by a jury of supplying and manufacturing cannabis medicines. He had argued that the needs of his patients were so serious - particularly the need for pain relief - that it was necessary for him to break the law.

The police had raided his home the year before after he appeared on TV advocating legalisation.